Conversations about child abuse, domestic violence and sexual assault can be difficult. Our staff have developed presentations that they provide to law enforcement, healthcare professionals, community trainings, professional groups, youth groups, church groups and others. Staff are also available to attend health fairs, community festivals and holiday parades to raise awareness.
Darkness to Light offers resources for helping parents talk to their children about abuse, as well as helping parents know what to say or do when they think a child may have been abused. https://www.d2l.org/
Recovering from a sexual assault or abuse is a process, and that process looks different for everyone. News around other sexual assaults or abuse can trigger strong reactions for survivors. Here are some tips from RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) for survivors and their friends and family. https://www.rainn.org/recovering-sexual-violence
Heath/Community Fairs: Our community educator and volunteers participate in local events, bringing literature and display materials to raise awareness of abuse and our available services.
Professional Training: Our staff members hold regular trainings for law enforcement and social service providers on aspects of abuse pertaining to their professions.
Workplace Violence Prevention Presentations: In conjunction with Hopeful Horizons, Former FBI Profiler Eugene Rugala offers businesses methods to prevent intimate partner violence from spilling over into the workplace.
The Importance of Trauma Informed Practices: Hopeful Horizons Therapists provide an overview of trauma, its prevalence in the population, why knowing this is important and how to create practices that are trauma-informed.
Mandated Reporting and Requirements: Our staff hold regular trainings for professionals to help them understand their role as mandated reporters, what the law requires of them, how to make a report of child abuse and neglect, and best practices in responding to children who disclose abuse.
Teen Dating Violence: Our children’s staff offers The Megan Project, an interactive, teen dating violence education program to high school students.
Bullying Program: The children’s staff also presents age-appropriate bullying education programs to elementary and middle school students.
Publications: We offer a variety of brochures, newsletters and other literature for display and dissemination in schools, medical/business offices, and other public venues. Sign up for our e-newsletter to stay informed.
Create a Safety Plan
If you are living in an abusive situation, you never know when the violence may escalate. It’s important to plan how you and your children can stay safe or escape.
Here are some tips:
Safety During an Explosive Incident
If an argument seems unavoidable, try to have it in a room with an exit and not in the bathroom, kitchen or anywhere near weapons.
Practice how to get out of your home safely. Keep a packed bag in a secret but accessible place so you can leave quickly. Tell trusted neighbors about the violence and ask them to call police if they hear a disturbance coming from your home. Devise a code word to use with your children, family, friends and neighbors when you need the police. Teach your children how to call 911.
Safety When Preparing to Leave
Determine who will let you stay with them or lend you money. Always try to take your children with you or make arrangements for them with someone safe. Leave money, extra car keys, copies of important papers and clothes with someone else. Open a savings account in your own name to establish or increase your financial independence. Keep change, credit/calling card or cell phone with you at all times. Review your safety plan with a domestic violence advocate.
What to Take When You Leave
It can be difficult to replace important documents after leaving home. Put them in a safe place where you can quickly retrieve them and/or give copies to a friend or relative.
- Identification, driver’s license, car title & registration, social security cards for you and children
- Children’s birth certificates, your birth certificate and marriage certificate
- Money, credit cards, ATM card, telephone calling card, jewelry
- Order of Protection, Restraining Order, divorce papers including custody, school records
- Lease, rental agreement, house deed
- Checkbooks, bank books & withdrawal slips
- Health insurance and/or medical cards, home/car insurance papers
- House and car keys
- Passports for yourself and children, work permits, green cards or immigration papers
Safety in Your Home after Separation
Inform your neighbors and landlord that your partner no longer lives with you and ask them to call the police if they see the abuser near your home. Rehearse a safety plan with your children for when you are not with them. Inform your children’s school about who has permission to pick up your children. Give the school a copy of your Order of Protection if you have one. Change/add locks to your doors and windows and change your telephone number.
Safety on the Job and in Public after Separation
Tell trusted people at work about your situation, especially building security. Provide the abuser’s photo, if possible. Arrange to have someone screen your telephone calls. Devise a safety plan for leaving work. Have someone escort you to your car or bus. Use a variety of routes to go home. Think about what you would do if something happened. Keep a charged cell phone with you.